Photo by Kody Workman and Kelly Castille of Positravelty. Instagram/Positravelty
For better or for worse, social media has forever changed how we document our travel experiences. No longer is it enough to share our stories with close friends, we now post our pics and harrowing tales online for all to see.
Some have even made a name for themselves by sharing their adventures with the entire world. But these people, known as travel “influencers,” can be real idiots.
And speaking of idiots, you won’t believe what one of these “travel influencer” couples did to create the latest internet uproar.
Watch me!! Are you watching?!!
If you’re a parent, you hear this all the time. It’s a totally normal phase of childhood to demand attention at all times.
But many adults are also desperate for attention. They constantly post on social media, showing us all the great things they know and do.
They’re called “influencers” and being one is a big trend right now.
These influencers are people who generally have some expertise in a certain area and want to share it online with photos, videos, and testimonials.
Whether it’s diet and fitness advice, teaching someone a skill (or a stupid trick), or just selling a product they believe in, influencers are apparently the best thing to be online.
Hey, if we’re honest, we all want to be noticed and appreciated.
I guess we’re just not happy having a few close friends – or even a few hundred people seeing our posts.
We want to be seen and understood by many. We want to know our lives matter. Maybe we want our fifteen minutes of fame!
And even if we don’t achieve fame, at least we can say that hundreds, thousands, or maybe millions of people were forced to look at us.
Maybe they’ll do what we do and we’ll feel like we’ve made an impact on humanity.
There’s a reason why they’re called “followers.”
Case in point…
Now, a lot of people have Instagram pages. Many want to share their photography or artwork or showcase something they’re interested in with others…
Because they’re passionate and want others to be touched by that passion.
And then there are the attention-seekers.
Take Kelly Castille and Kody Workman, two (millennial) Americans who have a travel blog/Instagram page called Positravelty. Methinks they tried a little too hard with that one.
Kelly and Kody (I’m pretty sure “Kody” changed his name to be spelled with a “K” so they could play up the cuteness factor) like to post lots of pictures of themselves in beautiful places.
They want us to be inspired by the breathtaking photos of their global adventures and be inspired to get out there and live our best lives.
They want us to get out of our comfort zone and take risks like they do!
But one look at their Instagram page and you’ll see that ninety-percent of their photos are of them basking in the sun, showing off their tan and buff bods, hanging all over each other like something out of From Here To Eternity, but with a lot less clothing. (Note for millennials – Google it.)
Kelly likes to pose in thongs – a risk most of us would never, ever take. Kody wants to look like the stereotypical surfer dude.
They’re young and beautiful, unmarked by the harsh realities of decades spent working, paying bills, and raising families. They have it all – except maybe jobs.
But they also don’t have a healthy sense of respect for just how good they’ve got it, because twice in recent months they’ve caused an uproar by posting photos of Kody putting Kelly in life-threatening situations for the perfect photo-op.
In April, Kody appeared to be dangling Kelly over the side of a huge pool in Bali, only a surfer dude’s grasp away from death.
Then on a trip to Peru in August, Kody sat perched at the edge of a jagged cliff, holding onto Kelly as she appeared to dangle hundreds of feet over deep turquoise water, clinging to the rock by one foot and her beloved’s hand.
The post received more than 14,000 likes. Sure, it looks cool, but I think most of us would agree with one user’s comment — “Damn, y’all crazy.”
What has people up-in-arms is that the couple’s core message is to get people to abandon their fears and take risks in order to leave behind their “quiet and sedentary lives.”
If that’s the case, one would think this would be an open invitation to go dangling our significant others over the abyss. If you watch Dateline, you know that’s not a good idea – and you won’t get away with it.
Kody came to the couple’s defense after saying that he and Kelly have a relationship of “great understanding and trust” – a oneness, if you will – that apparently makes them immortal.
He says they “weren’t scared at all,” and that they would never dream that anyone would actually attempt their daring poses in their own photos.
I’m sorry, but isn’t that the point? You want to be out there showing off and encouraging people to take risks, but then don’t stop to think they just might take your advice?
After all, they see you lived through it – this time.
Kody went one step further by saying that the couple use “perspective optics” (ooh, fancy) to create drama in their shots.
For example, in the Peru picture, he says there was actually another pool that – if anything had happened – Kelly would have fallen in it, and not the lethal one. It was only eight meters below her.
That makes us feel better.
Hey, they’re grown adults (legally at least), so if they want to take the risk, they’re free to do so. In fact, the couple captioned the photo on their page, “There is a difference between risking your life and taking a risk at having one.”
But if you’re an “influencer” with “followers,” don’t you have some kind of responsibility to either a.) add some kind of disclaimer like “don’t try this away from home” or b.) “this isn’t actually what it looks like”?
And it’s the latter that we all have to stop and think about.
Instagram versus Reality
Since trends are so trendy now, we have to talk about another trend.
Many internet influencers actually do stop and think that people may want to be just like them, whether it’s copying their look or their actions.
And they want people to know that most of this is just smoke and mirrors.
Some of these online sensations have started pages to show their original Instagram posts alongside the “reality” – before and after makeup, before and after photoshop, before and after sucking in that tummy or taping up that double-chin.
It’s great that many of these people are able to laugh at themselves. But despite what Kody says about perspective, the couple isn’t releasing their “reality” photos.
How do we know Kelly’s not going to get hurt? How do we know some other young and “invincible” couple isn’t going to try the same pose so they can get a bunch of likes – and then it ends in tragedy?
In fact, another couple of internet influencers found themselves in serious trouble because they cared more about getting the perfect post than what was going on around them.
Australian travel bloggers Mark Firkin and Jolie King were arrested in Iran this July for taking photos with a drone – a big no-no in Iran if you don’t have a permit.
It was more important to please their 21,000-plus followers (or, let’s face it, get more attention for themselves) than it was to check the laws and watch their backs.
They went to jail in a foreign country – scary stuff.
Still, the influencer trend isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
These people love the attention, and we’ll bet they’ll take more and more risks to make sure they don’t become irrelevant.
But every time one of these risk-takers strike another pose that’s either dangerous or against the law, they’re tempting fate.
And they’re encouraging others to do the same by making their lives look so perfect. Kelly and Kody want people to take risks.
Is it really worth it? I think the ones who really appreciate life and live it to the fullest are the ones smart enough to know they’d like to stick around for awhile.
Harlan Ellison put it best –“The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.”
We couldn’t agree more.